“I felt safe” – Cape mom’s tribute to health workers
A mother has sent a heartfelt thank you to frontline workers in the Western Cape after beating COVID-19.
When Natheera Hermans tested positive for the coronavirus she feared for the well-being of her children, mother and elderly grandfather, who she shares a two-bedroom home with.
The mother of two says nothing could have prepared her for receiving the news of a positive test result.
“I told myself, no… it can’t be the coronavirus. I kept on having positive thoughts. I told myself they just wanted to rule it out, that is why they tested me. I wasn’t prepared to tell my kids, and I wasn’t prepared myself.
“I have two children and elderly parents with chronic medical conditions at home and I was so afraid that I would infect them and jeopardise their health.”
Natheera first started feeling ill on Sunday, 23 August, and used over-the counter medication. But two days later she struggled to breath and knew she had to visit her doctor, as she was also was diagnosed with asthma. Her doctor took no chances and referred her to Tygerberg Hospital for testing.
“When I got there, it was very structured and everything was in place. The sister did her observations, asked questions and asked how I was referred. I provided my letter and a doctor saw me. They explained how the test works and did the nasal swab.”
A call on Wednesday 26 August would confirm her fears. She had tested positive and was admitted to the Pinelands Quarantine and Isolation facility.
Before leaving home, Natheera says she had to tell her kids that “mommy was working away from home”.
“I didn’t know how to tell them. I told them I had gone to work and when they asked when I’d come home, we’d tell them I am working away. The eldest one would hear others asking if I was okay and my mom eventually told her I was in a place where I would get better.”
Her mom, Fouzia Hermans, shares how she helped Natheera’s younger daughter cope.
“I took her to the park or would take her for lunch. The next day we’d take a long walk. Just to keep her sane. It helped. It was a stressful 10 days for us but when her mom came back, she asked, ‘Mommy, are you really free of Covid-19?’”
Natheera recalls with gratitude the support and care provided by staff at the isolation facility.
“I can’t explain how awesome it was. The moment I got there, they took my bags. They were so organised. I felt safe just by walking in there, by the way they were structured. I didn’t feel like a lab rat or weirdo. They were very protective but in a professional manner.”
“I want to say thank you to every single person from the site managers, to nurses on duty, security and cleaners. You guys are amazing, and I thank God for sending me here because I was able to rest stress free and was well taken care off… no words can describe the gratitude I have for your kindness and generosity.”
When she struggled to switch off from work while recovering, words of encouragement from frontline workers eased her mind.
The mom was discharged from the facility on Friday, 4 September and couldn’t hold back her tears as she saw her children for the first time in 10 days.
“When I saw my kids again, I remembered this was the first time we were away from each other… I was very emotional. I was actually overwhelmed. Tears rolled down my face. They shouted: ‘Mommy, Mommy.’ I could not wait to get out of the taxi. I dropped my bags and they ran to me.”
It was her family and positive thinking that kept her motivated during her recovery.
“I have had so many opportunities to stay positive. I had reasons to give up, but I never did. Life will throw curveballs, but you can make the best of it. I thought I was not going to make it; my immune system was compromised from day one because I had been sick. I had underlying conditions. But I want to say this, remain positive. Think about all the things that motivate you, like wanting to see your family.”
With social distancing in place, she was able to see her fiancé and one of her daughters through a window visit.
“My fiancé visited from outside the window; they guided the visit. It was very nice.”
She’s encouraged the public to remain vigilant as the world continues the battle against the virus.
“Take the virus seriously. Prepare yourself should it happen to you. Take good care of yourself and your body. Eat healthy. Practice general hygiene.”
Communications Officer: Northern Tygerberg Substructure
Western Cape Government Health
Cell: 081 342 6687